Sunday, September 17, 2006

A New York Story...

There is one interview that I never blogged about. After being at Boeing for about 3 months, I was contacted by Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software. I had applied there when I was looking for jobs my senior year of college. Since Joel is internet-famous for running a fun-to-work-at company and for his musing on software development practices... I gladly accepted the interview. Yes, I was torn about only being at Boeing for a few months... but this was an opportunity to work at a small software company in Manhattan, so I thought I would give it a chance.
I was a West Coaster in Manhattan, so I figured I'd better get some of the touristy stuff done during my short 2 day New York excursion. I walked most of the way around Central Park, then made my way over to Times Square. I had to buy some pirated stuff from a "street merchant" while I was in Times Square, so I picked up a DVD and then a fake Rolex. The exchange went something like this:
  • Vendor: You want a watch? $200.
  • Me: How about $5?
  • Vendor: How about 2 for $20.
  • Me: How about 1 for $10.
The exchange was made, and I was the proud owner of a real fake Rolex. I went out to dinner with a friend, then called it a night.
I woke up the next morning bright and early (time zones and jet lag to blame), got ready, then headed over to breakfast. Of course, I'm proudly sporting my watch as I head into the corner deli. I get some coffee and a scone (or some sort of pastry), sit down, start reading my book and waiting for my interview. I figured I had to leave the deli around 9:30AM to make it to the office on time. I looked down at my watch, and its 9:10AM... lots of time left. I go back to reading. Check my watch, and its still not 9:30AM. I go back to reading. I check my watch. Still not 9:30AM. Am I hallucinating? or is time standing still? I stand up, and go look at the wall clock... its 9:45AM. I'm going to be 15 minutes late to my interview. crap. What happened? Well, I guess fake Rolexes only run for 18 hours before the finely machined pieces fall apart and quit running.
I ended up making it to the interview on time, but was subsequently eaten alive. The questions were hard, and I folded like a cheap Rolex. Oh well, I got a free trip to Manhattan and a good story.


Anonymous said...

Would you list some of the questions? I would like to see if I can answer them. Joel is known for asking brain teasers. He developed this style while working for Microsoft, and Microsoft has decided not to ask any brain teasers anymore.

Anonymous said...

great story, but what in the SAM HORN were you thinking trusting a fake rolex like that, everyone knows a good fake rolex costs $15, not $10

Anonymous said...

haha, that's funny. did you tell joel that in the interview?

JennThe said... comment on the faaaabulous dinner???

russellpwirtz said...

@anonymous: I got asked a brain teaser question at my contractor interview at microsoft last nov. though not one of those impossible "how many gas stations are there in l.a." questions

oh, also, adam: i read joel spolsky's book (really just his blog condensed into book-form). very good read. i actually found myself buying into microsoft's strategeries after reading the book. haha but not enough to want to turn FTE apparently.